Friday, November 20, 2015

8 Ways to Bloom in the Winter

"...be prepared in season and out of season..." 
2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
In west Texas, the plants and trees are kind of confused. Fall's late in coming. October was warmer than usual; cool days were spotty. The roses have bloomed like crazy, the tree's leaves didn't quite know what to do, and the dandelions popped up, ready to scatter their seeds.

The last few days have been cool. All the plants and trees are suddenly jumping on the Fall bandwagon - except the poor dandelions. They refuse to give up. As I looked at them scattered around the park, the words of 2 Timothy 4:2 came to mind, in season and out of season.

Talking about Jesus and living for Him is easier in the spring and summer. During the sunny times of our lives, we reflect Jesus' love and joy and compassion. Our hearts overflow with happiness. We talk about God's blessings.

It get's harder when winter hits. When times are hard, we might let fear or sorrow take over our lives.

We don't smile as much as we used to. We don't say, "Have a good day!" to people we meet. We might not reflect Jesus during difficult times.

How do we express Jesus' love when our hearts are broken? How can we be like the dandelions and keep our chins up, no matter the weather? Here are a few suggestions that might lighten your heart.

1. Smile. Smile when others are around. Smile when you're alone. You might feel silly, but look at yourself in the mirror and smile - even a fake one. There's something about a smile that lifts your spirits. Just a tiny bit at first but more and more as you practice it.

 2. Play silly music or watch a funny TV show. This time of year, play Christmas music. Grab a child's silly-song CD and listen to it. Watch cartoons. Before long you will be chuckling and humming along.

3. Do something you enjoy. A walk in the park. Go to a craft store (Hobby Lobby's my favorite), a computer store, or a plant nursery. See an animated movie at a time when the theater will be packed with kid's. The possibilities are as wide as your imagination.

4. Reach out to a friend or loved one. Talk about your feelings and pray together; a shared burden is always lighter. When you can, put aside the problems and have fun together. Have lunch. Get a mani-pedi. Go to a museum, a movie, or to the zoo. Or have a quiet cup of coffee at your home. 

5. Count your blessings. I hate to even mention this because it seems trite and trivial. But it works. If you dread each new day, the sunrise might not be a blessing.  Cherish these: a baby's laugh in the store, your pet's cuddles, ice cream with a friend, a good book. Simple things are the best blessings.

6. Read your Bible. There have been times I didn't want to do this, but it lifted my spirits when I did. Choose wisely - Leviticus and Lamentations might not be the best ones unless you're a little strange. There are Psalms that lift your heart. You might have a list or you can go on line and Google "uplifting Bible verses." 

7. My favorite: Listen to God sing. I know, weird, huh? Listen to Zephaniah 3:17. He [the Lord] will rejoice over you with singing." Go ahead, listen to His words. You are precious to Him. He will never leave you. You bring Him joy. Let His songs bathe your heart. 

8. Sing back to Him. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. Psalm 33:3
Sing praise songs. Dance around in your den. Don't be embarrassed; who cares?

The winter days won't fade away but you might find it easier to walk through them.

How do you lift your spirits when times are difficult? 






16 comments:

  1. Very well rounded suggestions, encouragement and inspiration. Thanks Shirley!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know there are many more. Thank you for reading and commenting. Be blessed!

      Delete
    2. Read Don Cunningham's article in the Baytown Sun November 19, 2015. Don's Daily Parable: "Not a good feeling" ...Don says "After I finished my meal, I had time to think, what if something happened to Pat, and suddenly ...Pat didn't come walking out of one of the rooms and say, "Is that you?" (read the article) Glorify God in every moment that God provides. Happy Thanksgiving

      Delete
    3. I love Don's articles! I get them online. He always encourages and pricks my heart. Thank you for sharing that suggestion, Harvey! Please share this if you know someone who would be blessed by it.

      Delete
  2. These are terrific ideas. I'm going to try to remember and element them. And I can check back in on your blog post to be reminded. I love this post. Thanks, Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad these will help you, Connie. As I was writing, I felt like they were so simple they might not be of any use. But we forget the simple things sometimes, don't we? Thank you for commenting.

      Delete
  3. Sherry, I love the verse in Zephaniah! I'd heard it before but didn't know where it came from. Thanks for sharing that one!!

    I make myself put on jewelry when I'm down. It's a little step, but it helps. Too, I try to dress nicely.

    Love this post. Praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jewelry! What a great idea, Mary! Sometimes a little step is all we need to get started. I bet a bit of makeup works too. Thank you for the suggestion! Love you, girl!

      Delete
  4. Sherry
    A great read for all of us with depression tendencies. I often find I've slipped into a state of "me" and have to remind myself to look up and then like number four suggests, reach out. If I get the focus off myself, it helps.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've been in the "me" mode several times. That's why God gives us close friends to point us back to Him. I have a friend like that, what a blessed gift! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Sherry for pointing out the many ways and things God uses to lift us up and rejoice in life. Both in season and out. Laughter is a healthy and exhilarating gift from God. Winter is tough for a number of reasons and your suggestion will help many enjoy it better including me. GBY my friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right about winter seasons being hard but God is faithful. Thank you for visiting and commenting, Walter.

      Delete
  7. I enjoyed your list. I like to listen to praise music, text a friend, and watch a favorite movie. Sunshine helps! But it's so cold outside. So I can walk at the mall for exercise, and get a little shopping therapy in. Happy Thanksgiving, Sherry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I totally forgot praise music! That lifts my heart. You are right about sunshine too. Sometimes I walk 3 houses down and then turn around because it's too cold. Great suggestions to add to the list, Katy! Thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  8. So many of these suggestions are the very things that have helped me walk through this hard season with my sister and her family. I agree about the addition of praise music as well - turns my heart right-side up again. Bless your sweet heart for your kind comments to me. Prayers for you as you help your loved one on a hard road as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much. Music is helping me too!

    ReplyDelete